As I try to think back to the person I was right before my freshman year of college began, it’s hard to remember. It’s not as cut-and-dry as I want it to be, and I can’t compare and contrast as if these two Wendys are totally distinct opposites. They’re not…I guess I’m just trying to distinguish between what changes I have gone through and what of me still remains the same.
These past eight months have been nothing but trial and error. As much as I want to think of myself as an adult, the truth is that I don’t know what I’m doing at all. I have made so many mistakes this year…things I wish I could take back and redo, things that seem totally and utterly stupid now when I reflect on them. When I think about those mistakes, those are the moments when I cringe at the memories, curl up like a clam and wish that I could dig a hole to bury myself in and simply forget. I have learned so much from being a college student—and the lessons don’t stop there. I still have three more years left to stumble over rocks and beat my head on the wall afterwards.
The one thing that has stood out to me this year and is something I have had to struggle with is the truth about forgiveness. I’ve listened to and read so many stories about how forgiveness is one of the most important lessons in life, but until now I never truly understood why. Over the past few months, there have been so many people, so many things, that I have had to let go of: people whom I care very deeply about, things that I have been used to all my life, experiences that I never wanted to end or that I wish had never happened. But no matter how hard I try to pretend that the regrets I have don’t exist or that certain things can last forever, in my heart I know better. Even now, I am still learning that sometimes all you can do is learn to admit things for the way they are, and instead of wishing things away, just accept and forgive yourself. Only when you know from the inside out that you are okay with what is can you move on. Only then can you be really, truly ready to say goodbye.
Lessons I’ve Learned This Year (some of them the hard way):
*Everything happens for a reason, and everything is somehow connected to each other. I used to struggle with this concept, but now I believe it.
*No matter how invincible you think you are, procrastination doesn’t work.
*You need to take care of yourself before you take care of others.
*Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself, and that should be enough for those who matter.
*You have your own thoughts and opinions, and you shouldn’t be afraid to share them.
*If you try hard enough, you can end up believing that anything can be possible and true (which, ironically, isn’t always a good thing).
*In order to move on from past mistakes, you must learn to forgive yourself first.
*Do the best you can, but that’s all you can do. Mistakes are a part of being human, and being human is beautiful.
*No matter how hard you wish for it to be so, time can’t be stopped.
*Tell the people you love the truth. You never know how much longer you have until you no longer have the chance.
*It is okay to believe in yourself and to believe in what you have to offer to the world.